Becoming a new parent can be overwhelming with all the planning for the new arrival as well as becoming educated on all the baby basics. One aspect parents should put on their list of things is to learn more about stem cell storage.
I know, I know what you’re thinking… Stem cell storage is too expensive and is more of a “luxury” procedure to do than anything else.
But the truth is… it’s not. Educate yourself on this topic before you make that final decision.
There are various myths about stem cell storage.
Baby expos offer a vast amount of information all under one roof and is a great source of help to new parents. For the sixth year running, Cryo-Save and Salveo will be at this year’s Mama Magic, The Baby Expo in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, giving parents much-needed information on this topic!
What people don’t necessarily know is that just like organ transplants are used to treat or cure diseases, stem cells can be used in transplants for the same purpose. Sometimes your own stem cells can be used, and sometimes they will come from a donor.
A blood stem cell transplant is done to replace the damaged or destroyed blood stem cells with healthy ones. These blood stem cells are available from circulating blood, bone marrow and a new born baby’s umbilical cord blood.
For more than 25 years, it has been possible to store a baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells at birth for future medical use.
Rather than just discarding the umbilical cord blood, parents worldwide are now choosing to store their baby’s stem cells, a service offered by Cryo-Save and Salveo Swiss Biotechnology both jointly owned by JSE-listed Ecsponent Limited and International Biotechnology Group, Esperite.
Collecting stem cells from umbilical cord blood for private storage is quick, painless and non-invasive, posing no medical risk to mother or baby.
These stem cells are preserved and can potentially be used for the baby, or his/her siblings or parents for future treatments for diseases such as Aplastic Anaemia, Sickle Cell Anaemia, Thalassemia, Congenital Neutropenia and severe immune deficiency syndrome.
Using stem cells from umbilical cord blood to treat any of these diseases holds many benefits over other sources:
- Like with any organ transplant, the donor and recipient’s tissue must match for a successful transplant. If they do not match, the recipient’s body will reject the donated organ or blood stem cells. The chances of finding a blood stem cell donor in South Africa are less than 1 in 100 000.
- With umbilical cord blood, the patient will often only require a partial match, whereas with bone marrow they will need a 100% match. This reduced requirement for matching means that the likelihood of finding a donor is increased when choosing cord blood stem cells over that of bone marrow.
- Additionally, umbilical cord blood stem cells are young and flexible, which means they have better regenerative abilities in comparison with stem cells from other sources, ‘a maximum of nine months old’, which means that they can differentiate faster.
Awareness about stem cell storage of a new born’s umbilical cord blood and tissue, and the potential life-saving applications are growing among families and more parents are making use of this opportunity.
This service is available at interest-free monthly installments of less than R350 per month for five years, making it a worthwhile investment, especially considering that there is no public stem cell bank in Africa.
Visits to the Cryo-Save Laboratory can be arranged, giving families the opportunity to inspect the storage facility and learn more about the life-saving abilities of stem cells.
For more information, visit www.ecsbio.com/salveo.